PROTECTING THE PLACES & LAND YOU LOVE
PROTECTING THE PLACES & LAND YOU LOVE

Press Release Archive

2017

CRLC RECEIVES $15,000 GRANT FROM VIRGINIA ENVIRONMENTAL ENDOWMENT 

  

Capital Region Land Conservancy (CRLC) has been awarded $15,000 in support of its “Protecting our Beloved James River” project through a competitive grant from the Virginia Environmental Endowment. The grant will provide support for measurable and innovative initiatives focused on improving local rivers and water quality, land conservation and sustainable land use practices, and environmental literacy and public awareness.  CRLC was one of 13 organizations to receive funding through the Endowment’s most recent grant cycle.  
 
Funding for “Protecting our Beloved James River” allows Capital Region Land Conservancy to provide stakeholder education by working with local government and private property owners on a vision map. The grant also supports the facilitation of the process to place voluntary conservation easements on parcels immediately adjacent to the James River. Of the 1,484 parcels in the project area, only 34 parcels covering 5,922 acres are currently protected in perpetuity. 
 
“VEE is pleased to partner with the Capital Region Land Conservancy in its efforts to protect the James River, one of Virginia’s most treasured natural assets,” said Joseph Maroon, Executive Director of the Virginia Environmental Endowment. “CRLC’s focus on generating more voluntary conservation easements will help protect water quality, recreation opportunities, and the river’s landscape and  vistas for countless generations to come.” 
 
In 2012, Richmond was named "Best River Town in America" and the Capital Region Collaborative identified the James River as one of seven priority areas that will enhance the quality of life for everyone in the region. Envision the James has identified land conservation as one of the most important initiatives to protect this regional asset. Adding additional acreage under conservation easement will also help to ensure that our region satisfies the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirements under the U.S. Clean Water Act.  
 
“The James River is such a defining feature of RVA and is a vital asset to our region that we must ensure its long-term benefit for future generations” said CRLC’s Executive Director Parker Agelasto. “Preserving adjacent lands will allow for its natural beauty to inspire and improve water quality by protecting natural filtration for run-off.” 

 
“For 10 years, CRLC has been working to protect lands in the Richmond area with great success at improving public access to the river including the James River Park System in the City of Richmond, Brown & Williamson Conservation Area and James River Conservation Area in Chesterfield County” said CRLC President Bill Greenleaf.  “We are honored to have the opportunity to continue our partnership with the Virginia Environmental Endowment and expand this effort.” 

2016

Malvern Hill Farm and site of Civil War battle Under Contract, $2 Million in Funding Commitments Secured

 

To further its mission to protect the natural and historic land and water resources of Virginia’s Capital Region for the benefit of current and future generations, the Capital Region Land Conservancy (CRLC) has entered into a contract to purchase Malvern Hill Farm for the appraised value of $6,562,000. The property consists of 875 +/- acres in Henrico County and Charles City County and is owned by descendants of William Heighler Ferguson Sr. (1885-1984) who originally purchased Malvern Hill Farm in 1939.

 

The Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places first listed Malvern Hill in 1969, recognizing its role in Virginia and United States history dating to the late 17th Century. Thomas Cocke (1639-1697) built the first Anglo-American residence there about 1690 and the architecturally significant ruins are well preserved today. The Marquis de Lafayette (1757-1834) encamped on the property in the summer of 1781 and the Virginia Militia also made camp there during the War of 1812.

 

But the name “Malvern Hill” is more strongly associated with a climactic moment in the American Civil War when the entire property lay behind the front infantry line of the Union army during the Battle of Malvern Hill on July 1, 1862. This deadly clash of armies ended with 5,650 Confederate and 2,100 Union casualties, bringing the Seven Days Battle and the Peninsula Campaign to a close and prompting President Abraham Lincoln to draft the Emancipation Proclamation.

 

According to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), Malvern Hill Farm ranks as “very high” in its vulnerability model. In 1993, the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission listed Malvern Hill in the Top 10 of Virginia’s battlefields that are highly threatened. Despite its proximity to downtown Richmond and development pressures in the Varina district of Henrico County, the property has remained mostly unaltered in appearance since 1862.

 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s soil maps show Malvern Hill Farm contains nearly 400 acres of prime farmland and more than 150 acres of “farmland of statewide significance.” Coupled with the “very high” ranking on Virginia’s Forest Economics Model as well as DCR’s evaluation of Ecological Cores and habitats of endangered species, the property is a priority for land conservation.

 

The National Park Service (NPS) has long sought portions of Malvern Hill Farm for inclusion in the Richmond National Battlefield Park. The United States Congress has approved roughly 443 acres in its legislatively authorized boundary for the park. “Acquisition and preservation of this farm would be a critical step forward in ensuring the long term integrity of such an historic place” noted David Ruth, Superintendent of the Richmond National Battlefield Park. DCR specifically names Malvern Hill in its Virginia Outdoors Plan for provision of public access with walking and biking trails and a Turkey Island Creek canoe/kayak launch to reach the James River, the Captain John Smith National Historic Trail and the Presquile National Wildlife Refuge. Likewise, nearly 2 miles of the Virginia Capital Trail along scenic Route 5 passes by and/or traverses Malvern Hill Farm.  

 

The Capital Region Land Conservancy has secured more than $2 million in funding towards this important acquisition. This includes $687,500 from the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation (VLCF), $400,000 from the Virginia Battlefields Preservation Fund (VBPF), $500,000 as a two-to-one challenge grant from The Mary Morton Parsons Foundation, and $500,000 as a two-to-one challenge grant from the Cabell Foundation. CRLC is actively applying for other grants and seeking private donations to support this important acquisition. The Conservation Fund is also considering financing for the project.

 

In September, Governor Terry McAuliffe announced the awarding of the VLCF grant to CRLC citing the Malvern Hill project’s protection of “Virginia’s biodiversity, history and way of life while enhancing public access to our natural resources.”

 

Director of Virginia’s Department of Historic Resources, Julie V. Langan, awarded the VBPF grant in November and commended CRLC for its “dedication and commitment to protecting important Civil War Battlefields for the future of Virginia and the nation.”

 

“In one transaction CRLC is taking a giant step in protecting the natural and historic land and water resources of our region” said Parker C. Agelasto, Executive Director of Capital Region Land Conservancy. “Malvern Hill Farm represents a significant opportunity to conserve prime farmland, native forests, nearly three miles of perennial streams, and more than 325 years of history while also opening the property to public access for outdoor recreation. I am delighted that CRLC could be the champion to lead a multifaceted effort to permanently protect this property forever.”

 

"The tremendous national, state, and local support for this purchase validates Malvern Hill's worth, not as real estate, but as a treasured place in our history and in our present day lives", said CRLC founder and Board president Bill Greenleaf.

 

Brian Watson, CRLC’s Vice President, said "we are excited to continue to lead conservation efforts in our area and be able to protect this historically significant property for generations to come."

 

The consortium of organizations assisting CRLC in the acquisition of Malvern Hill Farm include American Civil War Museum Foundation, Chesapeake Conservancy, Civil War Trust, James River Association, Richmond Battlefields Association, Richmond National Battlefield Park, and Virginia Capital Trail Foundation. Donations to support the acquisition of Malvern Hill Farm and contribute toward the challenge grants should be made payable to the Capital Region Land Conservancy and mailed to P.O. Box 17306, Richmond VA 23226.

Two New Conservation Easements Protect Important View of James River and Provide Added Buffer to City of Richmond's James River Park

 

For the past 25 years, private property owners Mark and Donna Romer and Dorothy Cleal had an agreement that they would not develop their adjoining properties without consulting each other. Late last month, they took the ultimate act to formalize this agreement in perpetuity by recording conservation easements on their parcels at 5513 and 5517 Riverside Drive respectively.  
 
Capital Region Land Conservancy (CRLC) facilitated the review and recordation of these two conservation easements covering 1.4 acres for the purpose of protecting the watershed and scenic views of the James River from the scenic byway Riverside Drive and the view of the surrounding landscape from the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. In addition, these properties adjoin the James River Park System and portions of the park that the City of Richmond protected by a conservation easement in 2009. They thus provide a further buffer for the natural resources and recreational uses protected there. 
 
Under Virginia’s Conservation Easement Act, a conservation easement is a voluntary act of the property owner and must be compatible with the locality’s comprehensive plan. The City’s Master Plan recommends that “the recreational, aesthetic, and environmental attributes of the James River be protected and enhanced in a way consistent with its role as a unique urban waterway.”  
 
“The corridor along the James River is a special place and it feels good to preserve a piece of it. I would like to thank the CRLC for helping us sort through the details of how to do this,” said Mark Romer. 
 
"Sharing similar goals, we were able to work as a team to not only donate the conservation easement but to make sure our neighbors and visitors would always be able to enjoy this very special view of the James River,” said Dorothy Cleal. 
 
Parker Agelasto, Executive Director of the Capital Region Land Conservancy said “the Romer and Cleal easements are unique examples of land conservation in an urban environment where development pressures threaten important viewsheds and encroach on existing protected lands.”   
 
”Working with the Romers and Mrs. Cleal has been a real pleasure,” said Jane Myers, Land Conservation Manager of CRLC. “Their love and appreciation of this iconic view of the City of Richmond which is shared by all who travel Riverside Drive is what drove the process making it very easy for all of us.”  
 
CRLC President Bill Greenleaf “We are delighted to help these two landowners protect an incredible viewshed of the James River for those on the river and those who travel along Riverside drive.” 

CRLC IS HIRING PART-TIME STAFF POSITION 

 

Part-time Staff Position – Land Stewardship and Outreach Specialist

(Jan thru Dec 2017; 15-20 hours per week; $20-25 per hour)

 

Capital Region Land Conservancy is seeking a part-time Land Stewardship and Outreach Specialist to assist with its efforts to coordinate with land owners in the Richmond Region. The individual will be well organized and able to manage projects with short- and long- lead schedules. The individual must have experience as a project manager, copywriting and editing, as well as have excellent communication (oral and written) and presentation skills. The individual shall be self-motivated and able to work independently.

 

In addition to drafting newsletters and mailings, the Land Stewardship and Outreach Specialist will maintain county mailing lists for landowners and coordinate with partner organizations to host events throughout the area. The individual will also assist with the maintenance of stewardship files.

 

Requirements: Working knowledge of MS Office (Word, Excel, Power Point, etc.), Adobe Illustrator, web design and online content production.            

 

Send resume and cover letter to Parker Agelasto at PO Box 17306, Richmond VA 23226 or executivedirector@capitalregionland.org. Applications must be received before January 13.  

CRLC RECEIVES $25,000 Gift FROM DOMINION RESOURCS

 

Capital Region Land Conservancy (CRLC) has been awarded $25,000 through a competitive grant from the Dominion Foundation, the charitable arm of Dominion Resources. Each year Dominion awards up to $1 million through the foundation’s Environmental Stewardship Grants Program for initiatives that focus on specific, short-term projects that promise measurable results to improve the environment. CRLC’s project, “Protecting our Beloved James River,” was one of 67 projects from nonprofit organizations in 12 states to receive funding through the program in 2016.

 

Funding for “Protecting our Beloved James River” allows Capital Region Land Conservancy to provide stakeholder education by working with local government and private property owners on a vision map. The grant also supports the facilitation of the process to place voluntary conservation easements on parcels immediately adjacent to the James River. Of the 1,484 parcels in the project area, only 34 parcels covering 5,922 acres are currently protected in perpetuity.

 

“It’s very rewarding to support the efforts of the Capital Region Land Conservancy to protect and conserve the regional jewel that is the James River for future generations,” said Hunter A. Applewhite, president of the Dominion Foundation. “Their efforts align well with our mission to conserve and promote the health and beauty of the environment in the places we call home.”

 

In 2012, Richmond was named "Best River Town in America" and the Capital Region Collaborative identified the James River as one of seven priority areas that will enhance the quality of life for everyone in the region. Envision the James has identified land conservation as one of the most important initiatives to protect this regional asset. Adding additional acreage under conservation easement will also help to ensure that our region satisfies the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirements under the U.S. Clean Water Act.

 

“The James River is such a defining feature of RVA and is a vital asset to our region that we must ensure its long-term benefit for future generations” said CRLC’s Executive Director Parker Agelasto. “Preserving adjacent lands will allow for its natural beauty to inspire and improve water quality by protecting natural filtration for run-off.”

 

“For 10 years, CRLC has been working to protect lands in the Richmond area with great success at improving public access to the river including the James River Park System in the City of Richmond, Brown & Williamson Conservation Area and James River Conservation Area in Chesterfield County” said CRLC President Bill Greenleaf.  “We are honored to have the opportunity to partner with Dominion and expand this effort to into Charles City, Goochland, Henrico, and Powhatan counties.”

New Century Farms recognized by Gov. Terry McAuliffe  

            

Governor Terry McAuliffe recently hosted families from the Richmond region for a reception at the Executive Mansion during which he recognized twelve new Century Farms including ten from Powhatan County. Also at the event, Gov. McAuliffe signed legislation passed during the 2016 General Assembly creating a Century Forest Program similar to the farm program.

 

The Virginia Century Farm program recognizes and honors farms that have been in operation for at least 100 consecutive years and the generations of Virginia farm families whose diligent and dedicated efforts have maintained those farms. Prior to the event, the Richmond region included 51 Century Farm designated properties. Efforts leading up to the event increased this number by more than 24%. Five more applicants submitted after.

 

Those farm families recognized by Governor McAuliffe include  from Powhatan County - John Amos (Midway Farm), Doug Brush and Evelyn Saunders (Blenheim Farm), Robert and James Cosby (Oakview Farm), Wilson DeNoon (Trenholm Farm), Constance K. Harriss (Norwood Farm), Ernie Hobson (Eagle Nest Farm), Gene and Shirley Moyer (Edgehill Farm), Myrtle Moore Osborne (Moore Farm), Tim and Anne Timberlake (Blenheim Springs / Oaksprings Farm), and Kenny Weisiger (Pineview Farm), from Goochland County – Ronald and Cheryl Nuckols (Overhome Farm), and from Hanover County – Natalie Schermerhorn (Hill Brook Farm).

 

“I congratulate the newly designated Century Farms that the Governor, First Lady and I were able to recognize at the Executive Mansion,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore. “These long-standing farm families, as well as the 1,352 other Century Farm families across Virginia, all share a common bond – the proud and enduring tradition of agriculture, the Commonwealth’s largest private industry.   Agriculture, from these family farms to value-added processing and manufacturing, is a key component of the Governor’s call to build a new Virginia economy.  I look forward to seeing more farms garner the Century Farm designation and help grow our economy even further.”

 

“These farms have attained a milestone for agriculture and set the standard for preservation of rural heritage in Powhatan,” said Powhatan County Farm Bureau President Max Timberlake. “These farm families are a real inspiration to Powhatan’s agricultural community.”

 

Capital Region Land Conservancy Executive Director Parker Agelasto said “The Century Farm Program is a wonderful way to honor the legacy of resilient families that have worked the land for many generations. Conservation easements are tools that these property owners can use to plan for future generations to contribute and carry on their history by preserving the land for agricultural or forestry uses.”

 

The event would not have been possible without support and contributions from Secretary Haymore, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Virginia Department of Forestry, Virginia Forestry Association, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, and Capital Region Land Conservancy.

 

For more information on Virginia’s Century Farm program, visit vdacs.virginia.gov/conservation-and-environmental-virginia-century-farms.shtml or contact Andy Sorrell, Program Coordinator, at 804-786-1906.  

US Congress strongly supports Land Conservation

 

On December 18, the US Senate voted 65-33 to pass the bill that will make the federal tax incentive for conservation easement donations permanent. This follows the House of Representatives 318-109 vote on December 17. This bipartisan action represents a huge win for conservation, for landowners and for the land trust community. Once signed into law the incentive will be applied retroactively to start Jan. 1, 2015. The full language of these permanent incentives can be found in Section § 170(b)(1)(E) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 under “qualified conservation contributions” made by individuals.

 

Congress also reauthorized the Land and Water Conservation Fund for three years and increased its funding from $306 million last year to $450 million this year. This follows the omnibus bill that authorized more than $10 million to support land conservation activities for Rivers of the Chesapeake.

 

Both legislative items are important to Capital Region Land Conservancy's ability to protect and conserve the natural and historic resources of the Richmond area. We are thrilled that both initiatives passed by a 2/3 majority.

 

You can also ensure land conservation in the Richmond region by supporting your local land trust, Capital Region Land Conservancy. CRLC has many exciting plans to expand our efforts in 2016 but need your financial investment to build capacity to reach these ambitious goals. Please consider making a contribution today.

2015

Lunch and Learn: Land & Farm Conservation Resources for Landowners 

 

RICHMOND, VA: The Capital Region Land Conservancy (CRLC), Monacan Soil and Water Conservation District and the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service invite the public to attend a “Lunch and Learn” program on Friday, January 29, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, at the Powhatan Rescue Squad (3920 Marion Harland Lane, Powhatan VA 23139). This event brings together a number of organizations that help landowners steward and protect their land, forests and working farms through voluntary programs such as conservation easements and cost-share programs. Representatives will be available from the Capital Region Land Conservancy, Colonial Farm Credit, Monacan Soil and Water Conservation District, US Department of Agriculture – Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Virginia Department of Forestry, Virginia Farm Bureau, and Virginia Outdoor Foundation.

 

“Lunch and Learn” will feature presentations on such topics as easements and associated tax benefits, cost-share conservation opportunities, planning for farm succession, and updates on legislation and events from Farm Bureau. Lunch is being provided courtesy of Colonial Farm Credit.

 

Registration is required. Fee is $5 by check made payable to the Monacan Soil and Water Conservation District and may be mailed to P.O. Box 66 Goochland, VA 23063 or delivered to Monacan SWCD at 3064 River Road West in Goochland. Register by January 22 by calling (804) 556-4936. Inclement weather date is Friday, February 5.

 

For those interested in learning more specifically about conservation easements and reasons to consider  an easement on their property, what the steps are in the process, and potential benefits, CRLC is also hosting two additional workshops: one on Tuesday, February 16, beginning at 6:00pm in the Luck Stone Headquarters at 515 Stone Mill Drive, Manakin-Sabot VA 23103; the second on Tuesday, February 23, beginning at 6:00pm in the Chesterfield County Ettrick-Matoaca Public Library at 4501 River Road, South Chesterfield, VA 23803. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Jane Myers at (804)745-3110 or jane@capitalregionland.org.

CRLC Announces New Executive Director  

 

The Capital Region Land Conservancy Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Parker C. Agelasto as Executive Director effective September 20. The Board recognizes that Agelasto is a community leader with non-profit management experience who can advance the mission of CRLC and grow capacity to better serve the region’s needs to protect and conserve its natural and historic resources.

 

Celebrating its 10th Anniversary, CRLC has facilitated the protection of over 6,800 acres of property and co-holds 9 conservation easements with more than 1,200 acres. These include the 280-acre James River Park in the City of Richmond and over 100 acres in Chesterfield County for the use as the future Atkins Acres Community Park.  CRLC service area includes roughly 1.3 million acres of which 16,500 of privately owned land are currently protected.

 

Land conservation benefits the region’s water quality by providing natural filters for surface and groundwater sources and works to lower the cost of water treatment plants.  CRLC has therefore launched the “Our Land and Water” project to develop a strategic conservation plan to protect the Middle James River Watershed with a focus in Goochland and Powhatan Counties.

 

“CRLC is excited to have hired Parker Agelasto,” said Bill Greenleaf, President. “He shares our vision to develop a regional strategic plan that addresses the need to be better stewards of our land and water resources for current and future generations.”

 

Agelasto says of his new position, “For the past decade CRLC has been steadfast in promoting the importance of land conservation in the Richmond region. I am honored to have the opportunity to lead CRLC as it moves into its next decade,  implementing  its new strategic plan, continuing to engage our communities and fostering collaborative partnerships, and growing CRLC's membership and fundraising efforts.”

 

CRLC will host its Tenth Anniversary Celebration on Sunday, October 25, from 4:00 to 6:30 pm at Tuckahoe Plantation (12601 River Road in Goochland, VA). There is a $25 suggested donation to attend.

 

Parker C. Agelasto received his undergraduate education from Bates College and masters degrees from the University of Virginia. He currently serves on Richmond City Council.

2014

Conservation Organizations Merge to Better Protect Richmond Region’s Natural Resources

 

RICHMOND, VA: The Friends of Chesterfield’s Riverfront (FoCR) has merged with Capital Region Land Conservancy (CRLC), which will carry on the work of both organizations by stewarding the lands previously protected by FoCR.

 

The Boards of Directors of the two organizations recognized the enhanced impact a stronger, more sustainable land trust could have for our region. Initial discussions about a merger began in late 2013. Legal due diligence was conducted in early 2014 and the merger decision was formally made in late March, 2014. There was overwhelming support for combining the organizations as the leadership of both organizations unanimously voted to form a combined nonprofit organization. Troutman Sanders LLP provided pro bono legal services for due diligence and document preparation for the merger.

 

“Combining complementary resources and strategically addressing conservation challenges as one organization ensures that their shared goals can be achieved,” said FoCR Director, Mark Endries. “The merger makes sure that with the Capital Region Land Conservancy, one local land trust grows and thrives in Chesterfield as well as the larger Richmond Region - maintaining a strong, unified and visible presence working for the conservation of our lands and waters.”

As part of the merger, conservation easements held by FoCR will be assigned to CRLC. The restrictions, land use limitations, and reserved rights listed in each easement will remain unchanged. Lands under stewardship of both organizations will remain protected in perpetuity. FoCR co-held two conservation easements: Brown & Williamson Conservation Area and Little Rivers Bend, totaling over 280 acres. CRLC currently co-holds six conservation easements around the region; following the merger, it surpasses the 1,000-acre stewardship mark and now co-holds over 1,200 acres.

 

“We expect the combined organization will be able to do even more conservation and stewardship … and do them better,” said CRLC Executive Director, Tara Quinn. “This combined strength promises to create an unprecedented force to accomplish our mission to conserve and protect our region’s land and water resources.”

Henrico Gets New Tool for Saving Small Farms as

Henricopolis Soil & Water Conservation District signs first Conservation Easement

 

For nearly a decade, 4th-generation Varina landowner Virginia Lipford has been seeking help protecting her nearly 10 acre family farm with a conservation easement. In November, that dream finally came true. Thanks to a new partnership between the Capital Region Land Conservancy and the Henricopolis Soil & Water Conservation District to co-hold conservation easements, small-acreage land owners now have the chance to preserve their properties as well.

 

Most conservation easements in Virginia involve properties with 75 acres or more, but this partnership means people in Henrico County seeking to preserve a 50 acre farm, or 25 acres of forest, or 10, have equal access to this opportunity.

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